I tend to shy away from more commercial, organized excursions when traveling. I like to discover on my own and, as a bonus, this approach usually ends up being cheaper. I do extra research prior to my trip; utilizing travel books, on-line resources and tips from friends, and during every adventure, I have learned to expect surprise changes. However, I can appreciate that every once in a while it’s nice to leave the planning to someone else. And on my honeymoon this seemed like the perfect opportunity to splurge a little and take an adventure on a glacier.
Perito Moreno Glacier is located in Los Glaciares National Park in Santa Cruz, part of the Patagonia region of southern Argentina. The park gets its name from the 47 large glaciers that have developed on the ice caps, forming the second largest continental ice extension – Antarctica holding first place. Perito Moreno is by far the most widely recognized glacier in the park and for good reason. This particular glacier is unique because it’s continually advancing; its forward movement is superior to the recession of the ice through melting. This progression causes the accumulation, rupture and release of giant ice blocks as the front becomes unstable; otherwise known as calving. Pretty impressive, right?
Our ‘Mini-Trek’ guided tour to Perito Moreno was booked with the help of a local travel agent but there are a few on-line providers for this tour – check Quick Links below. You should plan to bring lunch, warm clothes including gloves and appropriate footwear. I cannot stress proper attire enough. You will be strapped into ancient crampons (spiked footwear used for improved traction and mobility on ice) while trekking for about an hour and a half. We went during the Spring (November) of 2013 and although the weather was pleasant we found we were glad to have long pants, jackets and gloves. Grid Walking Tip: Bring some cash. There will be an entrance fee to the park – ARS$100 – ARS$150 for non-Argentine citizens.
The whole trip offers ample opportunity for breathtaking photo-ops; the kind that will really impress your friends. If you’re planning on visiting the park on your own try to stop by the Pasarela Lookout (most tours have planned stops here). Perito Moreno is nearly 97 square miles, larger than the capitol city of Buenos Aires, and 19 miles long. It’s from this lookout that you can navigate through a series of walkways and get a true representation of the glaciers immense size; its striking beauty appears to go on endlessly. And if you stick around long enough you might get to see part of the jagged front calve off; creating a thunderous echo as it separates from the glacier and plunges to Lago Argentina.
Was this tour worth it? Yes. I would even venture to say I wish we had booked the ‘Big Ice’ experience (3 hours on ice). Also, there’s a surprise element to the trek – I won’t give away any spoilers – which definitely added to the attraction. At the end of the day, I can say I walked on an ancient, advancing glacier and that’s pretty remarkable. Be sure to check out the photos on Facebook!